Tag Archives: gaslighting

Some Things (& People!) Are Valuable Even Though Narcissists Disagree

Those of you who know me know I love cars, in particular the classics.  My husband, too.  In fact, our newest vehicle is my late mother’s 2002.

As a result, so many people have asked me why I drive old cars.  Some are downright rude & tell me I should get rid of my old cars & get something new, even though there is no valid reason to do so. 

The fact is that aside from preferring old cars, they also can be a good investment.  Many classic cars are well loved.  If you don’t believe me, go to a car show or watch an auto auction on TV.  Those so called worthless old cars can sell for thousands more than they were when new.  And that brings me to my point..

Just because someone fails to see the value doesn’t mean something has no value.

This statement isn’t true only about classic cars, but about people as well. 

Narcissists do their level best to convince their victims that they are worthless human beings, they are ugly, stupid, lack any real talents or skills & much more.  The goal is to destroy their victims’ self esteem to make those victims easier to control, to make the victims willing to tolerate any abuse & to make the victims stay in the relationship because they feel unable to find anyone else who would tolerate them.  Narcissists do NOT say these things because they are true.

If you have been the victim of narcissistic abuse, please remember this!  Whatever the narcissist said about you wasn’t said because it’s true.  They say these things to further their own agenda, period.  What they say has nothing whatsoever to do with the truth.  In fact, chances are excellent that the narcissist in your life recognized something good or even special in you, which is another reason that he or she tried to destroy your self-esteem.  You clearly outshined the narcissist, & no narcissist can tolerate that.

Please remind yourself of this often!  Don’t let the narcissist succeed in making you feel as worthless as many people see beat up old cars.  You deserve so much better than believing those terrible lies!  Instead, remind yourself that you aren’t worthless just because the narcissist said you were.  You’re even more valuable than even the most pristine & beautiful classic car.  God made you in His own image & loves you tremendously!  Try to remember that & forget what the narcissist has said to you about yourself.  Ask God to tell you the truth about yourself & your situation, too.  Then listen.  What He has to say may surprise you & it will bless you greatly!

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Narcissism

Dismissive Listening

One way people can treat others poorly is by practicing dismissive listening rather than empathic listening.  It is a very common behavior.  It is so common, in fact, that many people don’t even realize that it’s not right.  They may feel badly after someone treats them this way but not necessarily know why, because in addition to being so commonplace, it’s also very subtle.

Dismissive listening can be recognized easily if you know what to look for.  Basically it is like the name says, it is when someone dismisses what you say.  Some common dismissive phrases are:

  • “Don’t be upset/sad/angry!” 
  • “The same thing happened to my friend!  She was fine though.”
  • “At least it’s not…<insert random bad thing here>”
  • “Well it could be worse!”
  • Any sort of toxic positivity phrase like, “cheer up!”, “Positive vibes only!” or “Think only happy thoughts!”

Dismissive phrases like these often try to shut down & even instill shame in the person talking to the dismissive person.  They also are a sign of someone trying to fix another person rather than listen to what they have to say.

While narcissists clearly are pros at dismissive listening, not everyone who talks this way is a narcissist.  Some people simply don’t realize how they are treating others is wrong. 

I urge you to pay attention to how people treat you when you talk.  If someone is quick to dismiss what you have to say, that is a red flag.  They may not be a totally unsafe person, but they may not be comfortable with the subject matter & as a result, want to stop you from talking about it.  Some people simply can’t handle talking about specific topics.  While that is fine, dismissing you if you bring up a specific topic isn’t fine.  The dismissive listening is a red flag that this topic isn’t a safe one to discuss with this person, so you should avoid it.  It also could potentially be a sign the person is dysfunctional or even narcissistic.  The way they behave otherwise will let you know what the case is.

I also want to urge you to pay attention to how you treat others when they are talking.  If you catch yourself being dismissive to others once in a while, it happens.  It’s normal, really.  On a regular basis though, it’s not good.  You can make changes though! 

Remember that being a good listener means you want to hear what someone has to say, & you make that obvious.  You make it clear you are willing to listen to them.  You let the other person speak without interrupting.  You don’t change the subject.  You let them speak without judgment or criticism. 

You also don’t need to offer advice unless the other person asks for it.  Unasked for advice is just rude & presumptuous! Not to mention, many people just need to vent rather than advice. 

Show empathy.  Let the other person know you care by saying things like, “That sounds really hard.”  “Can I do something to help you?”  “I’m here for you.”  & “I care.”  Those little phrases will make a huge difference to someone in need of a comforting friend.

Body language can be important too.  It sends subtle cues to the speaker that you are involved in this conversation.  Touch their hand, look them in the eye, maybe offer a hug.

Dismissive listening may not be the worst thing a person can do to another, but it still needs to be avoided in order to have healthy, happy relationships.

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health

When Narcissists Violate Boundaries

Narcissists are very concerned with appearances.  They are obsessed really, & will do anything to avoid looking like they have made mistakes, are flawed or as if they are bad in some way.  One way they maintain their perfect appearances is by violating boundaries.  They do this in several ways.

One way is to deny they violated your boundary.  In spite of you being right there, watching them do whatever it was they did, they will say that never happened.  They want to convince you that never happened so the next time it happens, you won’t believe it happened.  When they do this, they may even add on that they never do that thing you accused them of doing.  In fact, they may criticize others who show the same behavior.  For example, my mother would rage & scream at me, yet criticize me for having a bad temper or for yelling.  This projection allows them to be upset about the behavior while accepting no responsibility for their behavior or making changes.

Another way is by minimizing their abusive behavior.  Narcissists do love to minimize their abusive behavior & the effects it has on others as a way to continue behaving as they do.  If they can convince themselves & others that what they do isn’t a big deal & it isn’t really hurting anyone, they can continue to do whatever they like.

Sometimes narcissists will try to deflect by turning the tables on their victims.  Say you confront your narcissistic spouse about how much money he or she spends even knowing money is tight.  You remind this person that times are hard & there isn’t money left over for frivolous purchases.  Rather than admit they have overspent, apologize & start being more responsible, the narcissist may say, “What about you?  You spend way more money than me!  You just spent $100 last week!”  The idea of this behavior is to get the victim so caught up in defending themselves, they forget about the original complaint, & the narcissist can continue their behavior.

If all else fails, narcissists will not hesitate to blame their victims.  We’ve all heard of abusive husbands who beat their wives & blame the wives for making them beat them.  Narcissists do this often.  I’ve told this story before, so pardon the repeat if you know it.  On my seventeenth birthday, my now ex husband gave me a small vase of flowers with two small balloons in it & a teddy bear.  My mother destroyed the vase, flowers & balloons.  She forced me to give him back the bear.  She hated my ex, & was angry he gave me these gifts.  She said though that the reason that she destroyed them was because I was “acting so snotty” about getting them.  My so called snotty behavior was me being very quiet when I couldn’t avoid her seeing the gifts.  I was terrified of the rage I knew was coming, & my natural reaction to that fear was to get quiet. 

When these things happen, please remember that this is typical narcissistic behavior.  It has nothing to do with you & everything to do with their dysfunction.  They also aren’t right!  You saw them do what they do, so don’t believe the lies that they didn’t do it.  You also know how it felt so don’t let them minimize your pain.  Don’t let them change the topic of your conversation or make you feel responsible for “making” them do anything.  You are fine!  They however, are not, which is why they’re playing the stupid games!

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How Cunning Narcissists Can Be

I have my blog comments set up so I have to approve comments from anyone who hasn’t commented before.  It’s been a useful feature for protecting it from the narcissists in my life as well as weeding out spam.  Thankfully most comments don’t meet that criteria, so rarely is there a comment I don’t approve.  Recently though I had one.  I didn’t approve the comment primarily because I didn’t want anyone new to learning about narcissism to read it & fall for the manipulation in it.  I was simply going to ignore it but I realized it could be an excellent teaching tool.

I won’t share the comment word for word, only parts of it that can be useful for educational purposes.

It started out saying that my article was “insightful.”  Sounds nice, doesn’t it?  But, in true narcissist form, it was an attempt to gain my trust.  Narcissists aren’t ones to complement others to be nice.  Consider love bombing.  It involves lots of complements which lures victims in.  Even if the relationship isn’t romantic, narcissists are very complimentary at first since it helps gain their victims’ trust & create a bond between them.

From there, the commenter said that a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder suffers more than their victims because they have C-PTSD from childhood which lead to them developing NPD.  Then this person explained the disorder.  This is clearly an attempt to appear superior to me by being much more knowledgeable than me on this topic.  The topic I’ve been writing about since about 2011, by the way.  I’m not saying I know everything about narcissism of course, because I definitely don’t.  But, look at this situation for a moment.  Why would anyone talk condescendingly to someone who clearly has plenty of experience & knowledge on a topic?  It’s not as if this person said they have studied it for years, are in the mental health field or even mentioned a past relationship with a narcissist.  No evidence of anything like that was given.  I was just supposed to take them at their word, believing they know much more than me.  That is typical narcissist behavior – they expect to be believed & even revered simply because they are them. 

The person then went on to defend narcissists, saying they are simply unaware of the suffering their behavior causes due to physical issues with their brain, & if I understand at all what goes on in their minds, I will agree.  Rather snarky, right?  The mask was coming off at this point.

They then went on to say that anger is normal, but sometimes anger “can turn you & your actions evil.”  This comment is interesting because it’s trying to lure me back in while insulting me all in one sentence!  Talk about crazy making!  The person validated my anger at narcissists then called me evil.  They didn’t say anger can turn “a person” or “a person’s actions” evil.  They said “you,” which seemed aimed directly at me, not talking about people in general, yet there is plausible deniability in that sentence.  Maybe this person aimed it at me, or maybe they were simply saying any person’s anger can do this to them.  Narcissists love plausible deniability, because it allows them to be hateful while appearing innocent, & if their target says anything, they look petty or even crazy.  Looking at the context of this particular situation though, I tend to believe it was aimed at me. 

They also went on to say I need to understand the intricacies of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, how the narcissist (not sure which one in my life they are referring to) was a victim of child abuse & how doing so will set me free from the resentment I obviously feel.  Why would any person have such sympathy for one person for being a victim of abuse who went on to abuse others yet have so little sympathy for another who also was abused yet did NOT go on to abuse others?  That is very typical narcissist logic.  Normal people see just how intensely wrong that is, but narcissists don’t.  They are always right, victims are always wrong.

The commenter ended by saying I’m in a losing situation followed by a laughing emoji.  In fact, on a hunch I googled this emoji.  It’s called “face with tears of joy” & is used to show someone laughing so hard they have tears in their eyes.  Pretty disturbing when you think about it.  Someone who says they think I am in such a bad way would find it so funny they would not only laugh but to the point of tears.  I think that sums up narcissists beautifully.  They are more than happy, they are simply elated when their victims suffer. 

Just for the record, not only did I not approve the comment, I blocked the commenter from accessing my blog.

I hope this helps give you some insight into just how subtle & wicked narcissists can be.  The more you know, the better prepared you can be when you have to deal with these people. 

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What Real Love Looks Like Compared To What Narcissists Call Love

I read an interesting article recently on ibelieve.com about some things adult children wish their parents would say to them as well as tips on how to incorporate them into the relationship with their adult children.  The suggestions in the article struck me as being the exact opposite of what narcissists call love.  I thought it would be a good idea to share them to help victims of narcissistic abuse to understand what real love is & is not.

Thinking before you speak was the first on the list.  In other words, a person trying to show love will be considerate & not rude or critical with their words.  They try to offer encouragement instead of discouragement.  If they must offer correction, they do so gently.  Narcissists are much different.  They may think before they speak, but only of what they can say to inflict the most pain or gain the most control.  They may even call this loving behavior because they claim they are trying to help their victim.  Nothing could be farther from the truth!

Next on the list was not acting like the center of their adult child’s world.  Normal, functional parents realize that they won’t be the center of their child’s world forever.  They may grieve some as it happens, but they also accept that as a natural part of the relationship because that is exactly what it is.  They know their children still love them & they still love their children.  Many narcissistic parents however, expect different from their children.  They expect to remain the center of their children’s world indefinitely.  When the child of a narcissistic parent starts to separate from them, the parent views this as a betrayal on the child’s part.  To narcissistic parents, growing up is proof their children don’t love them anymore.  And, if those children want to prove they love their parents, they must keep them as much the center of their world as possible.  Ignoring their spouse & children in favor of the narcissistic parents is not only acceptable behavior, but it is encouraged.

Third on the list was having a soft reproach.  In other words, being gentle with your words when you must tell someone you disagree with them or disapprove of something they have done.  The Bible describes this as speaking the truth in love.  Obviously, this is NOT something narcissists do.  Overt narcissists are often extremely critical & heartless with their reproach.  Covert narcissists are much more subtle but equally cruel.  They prefer to express disappointment & use guilt trips.  Narcissists will claim they love their adult children which is why they say what they do. 

Fourth on the list was choosing quiet over giving advice.  A person who understands loving behavior recognizes the value of this.  They know unasked for advice is rude & insulting because it basically tells the recipient of this advice they aren’t smart enough to handle the situation on their own.  Rather than make someone feel this way, they remain quiet unless asked for advice.  Narcissists, as usual, behave in the complete opposite way.  They value their own thoughts, feelings & opinions more than making anyone feel loved, so they have no problem forcing their unasked for advice on others.  They may say they are only trying to help because they care, but the truth is giving advice is just one more way for them to show off what they believe is their supreme intellect or to attempt to control another person. 

Last on the list was apologizing.  A person who is humble & loving will apologize to anyone, including their children, when they have done wrong.  Narcissists are far from humble, even the covert ones who put on a false display of humility.  Rather than apologize, they will excuse or deny their bad behavior.  They even may blame their victim for forcing them to do what they did.  When I was in my teens, my mother called her abuse “tough love” & said she was trying to “save me from myself” if I confronted her.  Apologies never happened.  Instead, she tried to convince me love equaled abuse, which is typical narcissistic behavior.

If you are in the position of hearing a narcissist tell you they love you, then please remember what I have shared with you today.  Love shouldn’t hurt you or make you feel badly.  It should prove someone truly cares for you & wants what is best for you.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

Lacking A Healthy Perspective About Yourself After Narcissistic Abuse

When you have been abused by a narcissist (or several!), you are going to have ongoing issues as a result of their abuse.  This is likely to continue for many years, even long after the abuse has ended or even after the abuser dies.  Today we’ll be discussing one of the lesser discussed yet potentially devastating issues: lacking a healthy perspective about yourself.

Not long ago, in emailing with a friend, I mentioned something traumatic that my mother did to me when I was in my teens.  She was floored, then told me how horrible it was & how badly she felt for me.  I was stunned by her reaction.  Yes I knew it was traumatic but somehow I didn’t think it was all that bad.  This same scenario happened a few times.  Then a few weeks after that first email conversation, during a phone call to a different friend, the scenario happened yet again.  I mentioned a past traumatic experience, & she too was flabbergasted.  And again, I was stunned since I didn’t think of the experience was all that terrible.

Being prone to over thinking everything, these experiences got me thinking.  I didn’t understand why I didn’t think these experiences were so bad, yet other people did.  It isn’t like they haven’t been through the same & worse experiences, & I recognized theirs were pretty terrible. 

Then, I learned something interesting that at first I thought was unrelated.  I’m always tired, & I assumed it was because I can’t get to sleep or stay asleep without medication, & have constant nightmares.  Not long ago I got a smart watch that monitors all kinds of health processes including sleep.  It showed me that I get virtually no deep sleep.  That explained why I’m always tired, but not why I don’t get deep sleep.  I researched this & found PTSD & C-PTSD cause a person not to get the deep sleep they need.  Upon learning this, my first thought was, “wow, I really DO have C-PTSD!”  My second thought was wondering what is wrong with me?!  I’ve had symptoms of it for my entire life!  How could I doubt it?  Suddenly, things began to make sense when I thought not only of this but my interactions with my friends a few weeks prior. 

When you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, they dictate everything about that relationship as well as about you.  They do this through gaslighting.  After being exposed to this toxic behavior long enough, a person takes on the narcissist’s narrative.  If the narcissist claims you’re stupid enough, you believe you are in spite of having an above average IQ.  They claim you’re fat?  Absolutely believable, even if the scale says you only weigh 110 pounds.  This gaslighting goes much deeper than those superficial issues however.  Narcissists all convince their victims that what they’re doing isn’t so bad, clearly it’s not abusive, it never happened, or if it did then it’s their victim’s fault. 

This gaslighting also branches into the realm of health conditions too.  Narcissists are the only ones who have any sort of health problems, at least according to them.  Also, narcissists aren’t above faking an injury or illness or even making themselves sick, they assume everyone does it.  These two things mean that narcissists don’t care when their victims have any problems.  They assume their victims are just faking as they would do.  Or, if there is undeniable proof of a problem, they minimize it so they don’t have to pretend to care or to help the victim.

This gaslighting is why I was shocked my friends not only saw the events in my life as traumatic, but validated me & cared how I was affected as well.  It also explains why I felt surprised to find proof I really do have C-PTSD, in spite of having the symptoms for so long. 

If this sounds familiar to you, my heart goes out to you.  I wish I could help you fix this right now, but I can’t.  I can tell you some things that I’m finding out that help me though & I think they’ll help you too. 

Prayer certainly helps!  I have asked God to help me have a healthier perspective on myself & talk to Him regularly about this.  Also, when I recognize any minimizing behavior in myself, I tell myself the truth about the situation instead.  Progress has been slow going with me, but it’s still progress & that counts!   

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Coping When Gaslighting Happens

Gaslighting is an incredibly insidious, subtle form of abuse.  In time, it can erode a person’s ability to make decisions by destroying their trust in their own instincts, feelings & perceptions.  It’s evil & horrible, yet it also is seldom seen as such.

Once a person realizes what gaslighting is though, it feels as if enlightenment suddenly has taken place.  Things finally make sense!  This also is the time an abusive person who uses gaslighting steps up their game.

When this happens, the victim of gaslighting goes one of two ways.  Either they think they were wrong, their abuser is not gaslighting them & gaslighting isn’t a real thing or they become determined to fight back.  I truly hope those of you who follow my work are interested in fighting back!  If not, I hope you will be soon!

When a narcissist actively employs gaslighting, confronting them on their behavior is often a waste of time.  Rather than admit their abuse is wrong, they spin the situation around to make their victim look abusive, over sensitive & mentally unstable while simultaneously making them look innocent.  There are times when confronting them is necessary, but often it is best to avoid doing so.  During those times, talking to yourself can be very valuable because it will help you to avoid falling for their abuse.  Following are some helpful affirmations to tell yourself that can help you deal with gaslighting behavior.

“That is NOT how that happened!”  Narcissists love to reinvent the past, glossing over their bad behavior or flat out denying it.  Sometimes simply reminding yourself that what they say isn’t true is enough to keep you focused on the truth rather than believing their lies.  Reinventing the past is a coping skill many narcissists use, & it is their right to do so.  It also is your right not to join in on their dysfunction.

“My response to cruel, contemptible behavior is normal.  What is NOT normal is the fact you think that what you are saying & doing is acceptable & normal.” Narcissists try to make their victims feel like the problem, & that their reactions are completely wrong.  This is NOT true!  Remind yourself that their behavior is the problem, not your reaction to it.  Being angry, insulted, hurt, & outraged is normal in abnormal circumstances!

“Me wanting you to be accountable for your behavior doesn’t make me a bad person.  It makes me normal.”  Narcissists can’t stand being accountable for their behavior, & will do anything to avoid it.  Accountability isn’t a bad thing & people should be accountable for their behavior.  Only people behaving badly want to avoid it.

“My thoughts, opinions, needs, feelings & even my humanity matter.  Period!”  Narcissists try to make their victims feel as if there is nothing about them that matters.  They are WRONG!  Every single person matters, no matter what narcissists may think.

“No one can dictate how I feel & what hurts me.”  Narcissists are notorious for telling their victims how they think they should feel as a way to manipulate them.  This is so wrong!  No one has the right to tell any other person how they “should” feel. 

“God doesn’t love you because of how you treat me!”  Some narcissists use religion to justify their wicked behavior & many even try to twist His word around to justify their behavior.  This is extremely WRONG!  God loves the people He has created & it pains Him when they harm each other.  When a person sets boundaries with an abuser, that isn’t harmful to the abuser.  It is normal, reasonable behavior.

I hope these affirmations help you to avoid falling for gaslighting & cling to the truth instead.

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The More Wisdom You Attain, The Crazier Narcissists Will Say You Are

There is a saying that goes, “The more wisdom you attain & the more conscious you become, the crazier you will appear to others.”  This saying is so true with the average person but even more so with narcissists.

If you think about your experience with the narcissist in your life, did this person not claim you were crazy when learned what they did to you was wrong, & you began to speak the truth about their actions?  Chances are excellent your answer is yes.

This can be so difficult to go through!  Wisdom can create cognitive dissonance, which is the very uncomfortable feeling of having conflicting beliefs.  In other words, the new truth is making you doubt the old, dysfunctional beliefs.  Feeling this plus dealing with a narcissist tell you that you’re wrong, stupid, & crazy is incredibly difficult. 

At this time, it often seems easier to forget the new information & just resume life as it was prior to learning what you recently learned.  At least doing that means the narcissist will abandon their newest attack on your mental stability.  While that does seem to be a smart decision & it definitely will make your life easier at first, it is a very bad decision in the long run.

Pacifying narcissists never works.  You may get a few days of some peace, but that is the best any narcissist can offer.  Narcissists refuse to behave reasonably for long periods of time.  They only do it for short periods of time, & they only do it then to lull their victims into a false sense of security by making victims think they have changed.

By rejecting new wisdom, you are setting yourself up to continue in an abusive relationship.  When you learn what the narcissist does is wrong, you stop tolerating their behavior.  Every single abusive thing you stop tolerating from them strengthens you & sets you on the path of breaking away from the relationship.

Also by rejecting new wisdom, you are pretty much guaranteed to be abused by another narcissist in the future.  Narcissists have a built in radar for who will be a good victim for them.  When a victim of one narcissist tolerates abuse, they are not only a good victim to that narcissist, but other narcissists are attracted to them like a moth to a flame.  Consider the common phenomenon of someone raised by narcissistic parents who grows up to marry a narcissistic spouse.  While no one can stop a narcissist from abusing them, they can make themselves unappealing to narcissists.  A person with wisdom who is eager to gain more wisdom is very unappealing to narcissists because they know this person won’t believe their lies & manipulation.

The more you learn, the better it is for you.  Not only relating to how narcissists treat you but because you will become more self confident in all areas of your life.  You will avoid making poor decisions & make prudent ones. 

While gaining wisdom can be difficult when faced with cognitive dissonance & the narcissist’s attempts to convince you how wrong you are, it is absolutely worth it in the long run.  During those times that you struggle, never forget that you have a Heavenly Father who is more than happy to help you.  Ask Him for whatever help you need, including for more wisdom.

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“I Was Just Joking!”

One thing so many narcissists say is, “I was just joking.”  They say this after saying something exceedingly cruel to their victim.  Rather than admit they shouldn’t have said what they did, they claim they were just joking.  This comment is designed to take the focus off of the narcissist’s abusive actions.  It also is supposed to make the victim believe they were in the wrong for being upset over this simple “joke.”  If successful, the victim also will hesitate to say anything the next time the narcissist says something cruel, or better yet, won’t say anything at all.  This allows the narcissist to continue their abuse without consequences.

Proverbs 26:18-19 in the God’s Word translation of the Bible says, “Like a madman who shoots flaming arrows, arrows, and death, 19 so is the person who tricks his neighbor and says, “I was only joking!”  These verses truly describe this scenario with narcissists!  Their “jokes” are deadly.  Maybe not to the body but to the mind.  Hearing “I was just joking” is gaslighting designed to make a victim believe what the narcissist wants them to believe.  Gaslighting can kill off the ability a person has to trust themselves, their feelings & their perceptions.  Once that is accomplished, the narcissist has free reign to control their victim however they would like. 

It also is “mad” if you will for any person to think that they can do something cruel then not only avoid consequences but also make someone else feel shame for being upset about the abusive action.  Once or twice maybe, but narcissists expect this tactic to work as many times as they need it to for as long as they need it to.  Sadly, often that is just what happens.  At least until the victim learns about Narcissistic Personality Disorder & the underhanded tactics narcissists use on their victims.

If you end up in a situation with a narcissist who claims they were “just joking”, please remember that they are NOT joking.  Whatever they said was not said innocently, lacking cruel intentions.  Everything narcissists say & do has a reason & a purpose.  They aren’t careless.  Quite the opposite.  Their words & deeds always are done with intent, & that intent is always to benefit the narcissist somehow.  Remember this & do not let them convince you otherwise! 

If you are unsure whether or not the narcissist truly was joking, then consider his or her behavior.  If someone makes a joke that is offensive, they will apologize.  They won’t make excuses for their poor taste or claim you are overreacting.  A person who feels genuine remorse will show it.  They also won’t repeat this behavior.  They will show more consideration for you in the future.

When in this situation, it is wise to choose your words carefully when you respond.  Showing any narcissist that you are upset by their actions just means they will do what they did again & again.  Don’t tell the narcissist they hurt you.  Instead, tell them something less emotional.  Some suggestions are…

  • I don’t see how you can find any humor in your words (or actions.)
  • You certainly have a strange sense of humor if you think that was funny.
  • You may find that funny, but I don’t.  I find your joke to be in bad taste.
  • Clearly we don’t share a similar sense of humor.

Comments like these don’t convey your hurt or anger at the narcissist, which provides them with no narcissistic supply.  They do, however, convey your disgust at their actions while also refusing to accept their claims of you being unreasonable for not believing their comment about just joking.  Comments like these can shut narcissists down, even if only temporarily.

Hopefully you won’t be faced with this situation, but if you are, now you have the knowledge & the tools to handle it in a way that is healthy for you.

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Being “Oversensitive”

Anyone who has been subjected to narcissistic abuse most likely has been ridiculed, judged & criticized for being too sensitive.  Claiming their victim is too sensitive seems to be one of the favorite ways all narcissists love to abuse.  It’s no wonder, really.  It’s a pretty effective weapon when you think about it.  If someone can convince you that you are in the wrong for being upset about something they say or do, then you will stop verbalizing your feelings.  Instead of confronting them, you may still feel upset, but you will tolerate what they do quietly rather than face their harsh judgment.  It’s just natural behavior.  At least until you learn that this really isn’t about you being too sensitive.  It’s about the narcissist being an abusive jerk.

One thing about being “too sensitive” I’ve come to realize though is being sensitive truly is NOT a sign of weakness.  I know, narcissists say it is, but it isn’t.  It’s more a sign of weakness to hide your feelings.

Hiding rather than being open about being a sensitive person certainly can appear to be the best & easiest choice, but really, I don’t think it is.  Feelings must be processed, & if they aren’t processed in healthy ways, they’ll manifest in very unhealthy ways such as physical & mental health problems.  Heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, adrenal fatigue & diabetes often can manifest in people who are very adept at hiding their true feelings.  Anxiety & depression, even to the point of suicide are common among people who keep their feelings inside.

Being sensitive takes courage.  Admitting how you feel goes against the norm, & can be met with intense cruelty.  Not many people can handle someone’s honesty about their feelings.  They only want people around them to act happy & as if nothing bad ever happens to them.  They don’t want to hear anything negative or be forced to deal with a topic that’s deeper than the very superficial.  There are also those, like narcissists, who see people who are openly sensitive as weak.  Anyone abused by a narcissist knows this, & exactly how hard it is to deal with people like this.  Being willing to be vulnerable takes courage, but especially after being mocked & abused for being this way.

Being sensitive also is a sign that you have a loving heart.  Again, another thing narcissists will say isn’t true, but as usual, they’re wrong.  You’re offended for someone who is treated poorly & angry for those who are abused because you care about people & don’t want to see them hurt.  This goes for yourself too.  If someone hurts you & it upsets you, that’s because you love yourself & know you deserve better than to be treated like this.  That loving heart can help you to create healthy boundaries & even confront people about their bad behavior when it would be simpler to pretend they didn’t do whatever it was they just did that hurt you.

The next time someone criticizes you for being oversensitive, remind yourself that being sensitive is simply proof that you are a wonderful person.  If someone can’t appreciate that fact, it’s their loss.  You just be you, & don’t worry about their approval.  Stand up for what’s right, cry at sad songs & movies & don’t hide your feelings!  Be proud of being a rare gem by being a caring, sensitive person! 

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When Narcissists Manipulate By Appearing Confident

When I was married to my narcissistic ex husband, he said many bizarre things.  One of those things came to mind recently.  He said that it is impossible for someone to think another person is attractive without wanting to have sex with that person.  According to his so called “wisdom”, every single person in the world thinks exactly this way, except me, so clearly there was something very wrong with me. 

At the time of this conversation, I was a typical victim of narcissistic abuse.  Thanks to the narcissists in my life, I believed I was incredibly stupid, so I believed what narcissists said no matter what evidence there was to contradict their words.  Obviously they were much smarter than dumb me, so I had to listen to them, I thought.  So naturally, I believed this lie & others my ex told me.  This one was different though.  Even though I felt ashamed for being so “weird” in this area, I couldn’t make myself agree with him. 

Over the many years since our divorce, I wondered once in a while what his statement was about.  It wasn’t until I learned about Narcissistic Personality Disorder that I figured it out.  Since many narcissists behave similarly, I thought I’d share my findings.

When narcissists say something with such utter certainty as my ex did, there is a reason for it.  Never forget that.  They aren’t talking just to hear themselves talk, although they do love the sound of their own voice.  Narcissists always have motives with everything they say & do.  What they say isn’t simply empty words.  They’re said with purpose.

They may be trying to gaslight their victim into believing something they want their victim to believe.  When someone hears something said enough & with enough certainty, chances are excellent they’ll start to believe that thing.  In my situation, I believe my ex wanted me to think that way.  He wanted others involved in our marriage, so he was trying to make me feel wrong for not wanting the same.  If he could make me feel flawed enough, he thought he could make me change my mind.

I think my ex was also trying to normalize that behavior.  If I believed it was normal, I wouldn’t have been upset to find out he was unfaithful.  I would have accepted it as just a part of life, without complaint. This is a pretty common tactic of narcissists.  If they can make their victim think something is normal, it’s a big victory for them.  The victim will tolerate that thing that the narcissist wants them to tolerate, even if it is something they originally thought was wrong.

Narcissists love to shame their victims to make them be easier to control.  Remember how my ex told me that everyone in the world thinks the same way on that topic?  That was a shaming statement.  I was supposed to realize how wrong I was, because I was the only person in the entire world who felt as I did.  If he could’ve just made me feel badly enough, he could’ve convinced me that he was right, I was wrong, & he would have won this battle.

When you are faced with this type of manipulation, it is important to trust your gut.  What you feel inside is what is truly right, not what the narcissist claims is right.  If you get confused or feel conflicted, take some time to pray.  If you can’t get away to do this, a simple, “Father, help me!” prayer can make all the difference in the world. 

It also helps to consider what the person has said logically.  Ask yourself does what they say make sense.  Using my situation again as an example, logical questions I asked myself could have been something like.. how is he qualified to know how every single person in the entire world feels on this topic?  Does this belief include thinking a family member is attractive?  What about the fact I’m straight- does he think if I think another woman is pretty I should want to have sex with her?  

These sort of mind games are difficult when you are in the situation, but they can be handled.  Slow your thinking down so you can think rationally about things, be true to yourself, & take no crap!  Don’t let a narcissist manipulate you!

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When People Must Share Their Opinions With You, Whether Or Not You Want Them To

I’ve noticed many people feel they must share any & all opinions, no matter whether or not other people asked them for those opinions & no matter how negative those opinions are.  Probably this is due to social media, & the ability to say anything without fear of any real repercussions from most “friends”.  Whatever the reason, it is highly annoying!  It seems nothing is a safe topic of discussion anymore.

If you think about it, you probably will realize how many folks share their less than encouraging opinions freely, no matter the topic.  Mention your thoughts on children, for example, whether or not to have children, your feelings on abortion or child rearing.  People will come out of nowhere to tell you how wrong you are & why you should think the same way they do.  Some folks tell those who have children things like they weren’t a real parent because they only had one child, they have too many children if they have more than one, or they were wrong for bottle feeding over breast feeding.  Then there are others who are adamantly against abortion because they say life is precious, yet these same people have no problem discussing their disdain for so called dirty or dumb animals & insulting vegetarians or vegans.

It amazes me that people think that their opinions are so incredibly important that they must be shared freely & with every single person they meet!

Chances are you will be subjected to this obnoxious situation at some point in your life.  And, if you’re a victim of narcissistic abuse, it can be very upsetting.  After experiencing the constant criticisms of a narcissist, you easily can become completely fed up with hearing such negativity.  That is understandable!  After experiencing this situation though I realized some things, & I want to share these things with you today.

You may never be ok with such behavior.  For one thing, it can trigger the same emotions you felt when the narcissist in your life tried to hurt you by telling you how terrible your feelings, opinions, thoughts, & everything about you were.  Early in healing, this behavior is very hard to handle because of that.  The more you heal though, the better you learn to handle triggering behavior of other people.  You see it for what it is, & handle the situation accordingly.

It’s also highly insulting when someone criticizes things that are important to you.  Insulting behavior isn’t something anyone should be ok with experiencing!  That being said though, the more you heal, the less it bothers you.  As you heal, you care less & less what other people think of you.  You realize their opinions are just that.  Theirs!  You also realize what they think is best for you isn’t necessarily what truly is best for you.  Only you know what is best for you.

What becomes more offensive than the opinions of other people is the fact that they are comfortable being disrespectful to you.  It can be very helpful to recognize why this person feels this way.  They may simply recognize you as a safe person for venting their anger or frustration at themselves on, which is why they mistreat you.  Or, this behavior may realize this person is a narcissist.  In any case, whether the person’s intentions towards you were malicious or not, it’s important to exercise healthy boundaries.  You don’t deserve to be mistreated.

Recognizing why they treat you this way can be very helpful too, because you see that their behavior isn’t about you.  It’s about them & their own dysfunction.

Unfortunately, many people seem to think they must have & share opinions on everything.  Although that is a waste of time to more functional individuals who recognize that they don’t need to have opinions on everything, let alone share them with everyone, dysfunctional people don’t see that.  Learning to deal with these people in a healthy way is a very useful skill to help you live a peaceful life.

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When Covert Narcissists Act Immature, Incompetent, & Dumb

A very common tactic of covert narcissists is to portray themselves as immature, incompetent & even dumb. Considering all narcissists want to be seen as special & even superior people, this sounds wrong, but I can assure you, it happens.  I’ve seen it first hand.

Whether a narcissist is overt or covert, two of their main goals are to abuse & control their victims.  Appearing not overly capable allows narcissists to do just this while receiving no consequences whatsoever, because people often believe that the narcissist who behaves this way simply doesn’t know any better.  Consider these scenarios

A child who grows up with a covertly narcissistic parent like this often is assigned the role of protector of that parent.  Since narcissists often marry, mostly an overt & a covert narcissist, the child protects the covert narcissist parent from the overt one.  The covert narcissist can get away with just as much if not more abuse than the overt one, because the overt is in the spotlight.  There is no denying the abusive ways of the overt narcissist.  Covert narcissistic parents however, can fly under the radar, abusing their children quietly through manipulation while getting their children to protect them from the overt narcissistic parent.  They end up looking like the good parent, & the child honestly believes they are until they learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  This is how I grew up with a covert narcissist father & overt narcissist mother, & my story is very common.

Consider the common scenario of the covertly narcissistic mother in-law who is verbally abusive to her daughter in-law when they are alone, & never in front of her son.  When the daughter in-law tells her husband, this can go several ways.  One is the husband defends his mother.  He hasn’t seen her do anything his wife says she has, so he doesn’t believe his wife is telling the truth about his mother.  Or, he defends his mother saying yes, she can be hurtful sometimes, but she just doesn’t know any better so the wife can’t get mad at her.  Or, maybe he does believe his wife, & then confronts his mother.  His mother claims she had no idea what she said would upset his wife.  She cries & says she meant no harm, she was just trying to help.  He believes this victim act & stops defending his wife to his mother rather than face her crocodile tears.  By acting immature & unintelligent, this person is able to get away with abusing her daughter in-law, having her son protect her instead of his wife & she has caused a giant rift in their marriage.

Using a covertly narcissistic mother in-law as an example again (since I have plenty of experience in this area), consider this scenario.  This mother in-law hates that her recently married son isn’t spending as much time with her as he once did.  Naturally all parents aren’t thrilled by that, but most take it in stride as a natural course of events.  Narcissistic parents however take it as a personal slight against them, as if their adult child’s new spouse married them for the sole purpose of stealing them from their parents.  Rather than simply call her son & say, “I miss you.  Would you & your wife like to come to dinner next weekend?  I’ll make your favorite dish”, covert narcissistic mothers plan.  The mother in this situation can come up with all sorts of things she needs her son to help her with because she claims she doesn’t know how to do these things.  Since he does, she needs his help.  She often creates more & more tasks for him, taking him away from his new wife.  She may even invent a need for him on his anniversary or his wife’s birthday, claiming she forgot the date.  If his wife protests, he feels torn because although he may want to spend more time with his wife, he feels badly for his poor helpless mom who needs him.  He may even see his wife as unreasonable & selfish.  Another giant rift in the adult son’s marriage can be caused by this situation.

If you recognize someone you know in these behaviors, then chances are excellent you’re dealing with a covert narcissist.  If that is the case, there are some ways to help you handle this situation. 

Never provide this person personal details or information, since that will be used against you at some point. 

Never show them any emotions, because showing emotions helps narcissists figure out what works in hurting or abusing victims. 

Do NOT allow this person to manipulate you.  Recognize the signs & change the subject, hang up the phone or leave when the manipulation starts. 

Try never to be alone with them.  Covert narcissists behave better when there are witnesses. 

Don’t ever think they just don’t know any better.  They DO know better, but they don’t see a reason to behave better. 

Never forget that no one can be devious & stupid at the same time. 

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About People Who Push Your Buttons

The world is full of many people.  Some of those people seem to have a knack for pushing every button you have.  Something about them constantly gets under your skin.  It seems like every single time you speak to them, you walk away angry or hurt.  Possibly the worst part of it is when you say something to them, no matter how gently you phrase it, somehow they twist the conversation around to the point you end up feeling badly for upsetting them. 

While many people don’t want to believe this, those people are almost always covert narcissists.  Yes, it does sound harsh to label them as such.  No, I don’t know the person you know who behaves this way.  Yet, I feel safe in standing by my statement that this person is almost certainly a covert narcissist.

Covert narcissists love to push people’s buttons.  They say cruel things to someone either about that person or those the person loves.  That person’s family, job, hobbies, beliefs, likes, dislikes & more are all targets for the covert narcissist’s criticism.  However, their nastiness often happens only when their victim is alone with them.  If the victim is with the narcissist & at least one other person, the narcissist is often as sweet as can be.  That way, if the victim gets angry at the narcissist’s fake behavior, they aren’t believed.  They would look foolish because others only see the good behavior.  An example I can give of this behavior from my own life happened with my late mother in-law.  My husband & I eloped.  Not long after we got home, we visited his parents as we did constantly during that time.  His mother & I were alone washing dishes while he & his father were elsewhere in the house.  His mother told me how she & his father were horribly disappointed that my husband married me instead of an ex.  A short time later, my in-laws had a party.  At said party, my mother in-law told her sister, “I want you to meet my beautiful daughter in-law!”  I obviously was angry & disgusted, but who upon seeing this would have believed how awful my previous interaction with my mother in-law had been?

Covert narcissists also like to play dumb regarding so many things, including their button pushing behavior.  Playing dumb is very advantageous to them.  It means people think they can’t do much so they do things for the narcissist.  They get joy from being able to make people do things for them.  It also works well when they push other people’s buttons.  If the victim confronts the narcissist, the narcissist can play dumb & claim they didn’t know what they said or did would upset the victim or that they were simply trying to help.  Either way, if a victim is unaware of this tactic, often they will feel badly for misunderstanding the narcissist.  They will let the issue go.  As an added bonus for the narcissist, this also teaches the victim to be more tolerant of abuse.  Victims come to think the narcissist truly doesn’t know any better, so they need to overlook anything that the narcissist says or does that is upsetting. 

The truth about covert narcissists & their button pushing behavior is they know exactly what they are doing.  They aren’t naïve.  They only play naïve in order to get their way.  No one who is truly naïve knows exactly who they need to hide certain behaviors from & has the self control to do this.  Also a truly naïve person wouldn’t know that certain things are especially upsetting, let alone continue to do them regularly.  This is especially true if you have told this person their behavior upsets you.  Anyone who knows something is upsetting & yet continues to do it knows just what they are doing & make no mistake, this is abuse!  A normal, functional person with even a minimal degree of empathy would stop doing hurtful things upon finding out something they say or do hurts other people. 

I know this can be hard to believe, that someone you care for is this type of person, but accepting this fact is truly life changing.  Understanding the truth about people in your life & learning ways to deal with them enables you to have much healthier relationships.  You have more peace & joy.  Best of all you learn to avoid abusive people.

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Narcissist’s Lies & The Truth

Have you ever noticed out “loud” lies are compared to the truth?

This is especially evident with narcissists & their flying monkeys during their smear campaigns after their victims have ended the relationship.  When they want to convince everyone who will listen that their victim is lying, wrong about everything & even crazy, they pretty much shout it from the rooftops.  They have no problem insulting them to anyone who will listen with blatantly cruel insults or lies.  In the case of covert narcissists, they use fake concern to smear their victims by saying things like, “I’m so worried about him.  He ended our relationship for no reason at all!  But before that, he was so angry at me all the time.  I’m afraid he isn’t mentally stable!”

The loud lies aren’t always during a smear campaign though.  Narcissists will smear their victims to others here & there during the relationship.  My ex husband told his mother I was extremely sensitive & she needed to watch how she spoke to me.  She told me this & we were confused why he said that since it wasn’t true.  He, like many narcissists, was thinking preemptively.  By saying that, I believe the goal was to make his mother think any complaints I had about him were a result of me being oversensitive, not him being abusive.

When the lies are what most people believe, it can be incredibly frustrating!  You often want to scream the truth from the rooftops as loudly as narcissists scream their lies.  Unfortunately, doing that is utterly fruitless.  It seems as if it somehow proves to those who believe the lies that the narcissist is right.  If you’re so angry about what they say, you must be offended by the truth.  If you say the narcissist is wrong, obviously you’re lying about that poor narcissist.  How could you be so mean to him or her?! 

One thing I have learned after watching such events happen over & over again is that the truth WILL come to the surface.  The truth is not like lies.  Lies demand to be heard & acknowledged.  The truth quietly exists, allowing others to believe it or not as they wish.  The situation with my ex mother in-law?  Once she & I began to spend a lot of time together, she quickly realized what my ex husband said was a lie.  There is also the situation with my father.  He portrayed himself as a nice guy, a good old country boy is how I could best describe the image.  No one believed he was anything but that for a long time.  Eventually he barged into my home, demanding my husband let him speak to me, even accusing my husband of abusing me & keeping me from him.  The mask came off that day.  My husband finally realized he wasn’t such a nice guy once he was on the receiving end of some obvious attacks at the hand of my father. 

Whatever the narcissist says to others about you is going to hurt.  Sadly there is no escaping that fact.  However, rather than try to convince others of the truth, it is best to stay quiet.  Refuse to defend yourself.  There is no point & it’ll only frustrate you.  Let people believe whatever they want to believe.  You simply go on about your life & let your good character shine.

The more you heal from narcissistic abuse, the easier this is.  You learn to appreciate greatly truth over falsehood, integrity over sketchy behavior, Godly love over what narcissists call love, those who will stand by you no matter what instead of those who run at the first sign of trouble & more.  You get to a place where the lies may sting, but they won’t devastate you.  Sometimes you can even laugh about the ridiculousness of them.  You also are grateful for those who believe the lies & abandon you because you know they aren’t your people.  They’re the narcissist’s, & you don’t want people like that in your life.  You realize that what is said about you doesn’t define you, so it isn’t important.  You realize there are many more important & wonderful things that deserve your focus much more than the lies spoken by ill informed fools, & you appreciate them. 

So no matter what, keep focusing on your healing & well being.  It is well worth it in so many ways!

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One Thing You Can Expect After Going No Contact With A Narcissist

Some abusive people are relentless.  They abuse their victims for years, sometimes their entire lifetime or their victims’ lifetime.  When their victims finally sever ties, this should mean the end of the abuse, but often it doesn’t.  Abusers are notorious for harassing & even stalking their victims, sometimes for years after the victim ended the relationship.  Not all abusers do this however.  Sometimes, they send out their evil minions to do their dirty work.

Flying monkeys is a commonly used term used to describe the evil minions who help narcissists abuse their victims.  They are quick to tell victims that they need to fix the relationship with the narcissist because the narcissist is such a wonderful person.  They not only sing the narcissist’s praises, but they use guilt & shame to try to manipulate victims into tolerating the abuse.  They say things like, “He is so miserable without you!”  “Your mom isn’t getting any younger..”  “You only get one set of parents!”

You would think once the relationship is over, the flying monkeys’ jobs would be over too, but sadly, that’s not always the case.  These mindless cronies still take their work seriously & can amp up their dysfunctional tasks.  Sometimes they will try contacting victims even years after the victim removed the narcissist from their life.  Sometimes they do it because they think now that time has passed, the victim has had the time to “get over” whatever the narcissist did to them, so now they’ll listen to the flying monkey’s logic about why they should resume the relationship.  Other times, they are on fact finding missions for the narcissist, hoping to find out whatever the narcissist wants to know about the victim.  Most times it seems they are hoping to find the victim is utterly miserable & destitute without the narcissist.  Still other times, these flying monkeys do it just to harass the victim while telling themselves they’re simply trying to help, which, in true covert narcissist fashion, enables them to think they’re good people.  Whichever the case, their behavior boils down to creating strife in the victim’s life, & that is something that the Bible speaks against very strongly.

Strife means to create discord, clash with or to antagonize another person.  Naturally strife can lead to other problems such as anger, hatred or thoughts of revenge, which is probably why the Bible speaks so harshly against it.  Galatians 5:19-21 in the Amplified translation of the Bible says, “19Now the practices of the sinful nature are clearly evident: they are sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality (total irresponsibility, lack of self-control), 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions [that promote heresies], 21 envy, drunkenness, riotous behavior, and other things like these. I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

People who are willing to start such strife do so for various reasons, none of which are good.  Proverbs 15:18 describes the type of person who starts strife in various ways in different translations.  Hot tempered, quick tempered, wrathful, & hothead are some of the words used in that particular Scripture.  Proverbs 16:28 also describes this type of person as a troublemaker, perverse & even evil.  Another motivation for some people is hatred, according to Proverbs 10:12.  Pride is yet another motivation which is mentioned in Proverbs 13:10 & 28:25.  The pride aspect proves my theory that many flying monkeys are covert narcissists.  They interfere because not only do they enjoy abusing, but they think they look like good people just trying to help fix a damaged relationship.

The best way to deal with flying monkeys is not to deal with them if at all possible.  No matter who they are, there is Biblical evidence that there is no need to have a person like this in your life.  Proverbs 22:10 says, “Drive out the scoffer, and contention will go away; Even strife and dishonor will cease.”  A scoffer is someone who mocks others or treats others with contempt.  That is often the perfect description of not only narcissists but their flying monkeys as well, so I believe this Scripture applies to them all.  Protect yourself & remove these dreadful people from your life if you can.  There is no good reason to tolerate such awful behavior from anyone!

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How Narcissists Instill Toxic Shame In Their Children

Instilling a root of toxic shame in children is something narcissistic parents do amazingly well.  And they really have to if they wish their child to be compliant & easily manipulated.  A person who is ashamed of everything about themselves is very easy to control, because they assume someone else always knows better than they do.  When that someone else is a person in a position of authority like a parent & the victim is a young child who naturally looks to that parent for everything, it can be very easy for that parent to plant the seeds of toxic shame in that child.

On first glance, it may be somewhat hard to recognize exactly how a parent accomplishes this goal.  That is why we’re talking about it today, to help you recognize how your narcissistic parent created this root of toxic shame in you.

Narcissistic parents primarily instill toxic shame in their children by destroying their child’s self confidence.  This is done by telling the child they can’t do anything right, by doing things for the child & claiming it’s because that child can’t do tasks right, telling embarrassing stories about them that may or may not be true, exaggerating any faults the child has or once had, or reminding the child of the many times that parent rescued the child from his or her bad decisions even though those times may not have even happened.  Such actions can destroy a child’s self confidence & leave them to think they are so incapable that they need their parent to take care of them, even as adults.

When a narcissistic parent says, “I was just joking,” you can count on that being a way to instill shame in their child.  No, they weren’t just joking.  They were deliberately saying something cruel to their child as a way to build that toxic shame.  When the child showed hurt feelings, the parent said they were “just joking” as a way to make that child feel ashamed of being upset at the parent.  If the parent can convince the child that he or she was just joking & the child was wrong to be upset, the child will tolerate the cruel words said in this instance & in the future.  Sometimes the child in this situation will defend themselves to their parent.  Their parent uses their normal reaction to prove to the child how unstable the child is.  Narcissistic parents can use either reaction to create toxic shame in their child.

Blame shifting is another effective way to instill toxic shame in children.  I remember when my mother would say the most unimaginably cruel things to me, usually screaming them at me when we were alone, & blame me for making her say those things.  I felt terrible for making her behave so awfully.  That is typical.  Blame shifting enables narcissists to abuse their child without accountability.  The child learns to tolerate abuse because they are to blame.  If they would just act right, the parent wouldn’t be abusive.  What the child fails to realize is nothing they could do would make that happen, so when their parent is abusive repeatedly, they accept that it is their fault, which results in feeling toxic shame.

Narcissistic parents who play the victim instill toxic shame in their children.  Covert narcissistic parents in particular love the victim act, but overts aren’t above using it either.  Narcissistic parents will infuriate their children then use their children’s reaction to prove to the child just how mean & horrible that child is to their parent.  This naturally makes the child in this situation feel ashamed of themselves for being so terrible to their parent for no good reason.

Talking above or below the child’s level instills toxic shame.  Talking above a child makes the child feel stupid for not understanding what their parent is talking about.  Never mind that parent may not be as intelligent as the child & is talking in circles with confidence in their words to confuse the child.  Talking down to a child by treating a child or adult child as if they are still very young makes the child feel as if their parent is superior to them. 

If you have experienced these things from your narcissistic parent, hope is not lost.  You can heal!  It will take time & effort, but you can do it.  You need to identify your parent’s shaming voice & what it tells you, then counteract that voice with the truth.  Write things down if it helps you.  If you struggle with this, asking God to help you can do wonders to shut down the shaming voice & help you to see the truth! 

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One Of The Narcissist’s Weapons – Touch

One way of controlling victims that narcissists use is touch. 

Touch is a very intimate thing.  It usually is allowed by only those closest to us.  Most people are uncomfortable with someone touching them who they aren’t close to unless that touch is nothing more than a simple hand shake.  After all, most touching behaviors that are common in close relationships are highly inappropriate when they come from strangers.  How awkward would it be for a stranger to hold your hand?  Hug you?  Kiss you?  Put their arm around you?  It would be incredibly awkward.

Yet, in such situations, sometimes people will tolerate the awkward touching rather than speak up.  Narcissists love to manipulate those people.

Touch is a way of increasing closeness & intimacy, in particular in romantic relationships.  Consider a healthy dating relationship for example.  That first time holding hands or that first kiss makes the couple feel close to each other.  Naturally that is a very positive way to use touch.  Narcissists will not hesitate to mimic it in order to gain control over their victim.  In fact, touch is such an effective weapon, it is commonly used by pedophiles to test the boundaries of children they wish to abuse.

When a narcissist first meets their victim, naturally they won’t begin using touch obviously.  It probably will be subtle, such as the male narcissist putting his hand on their female victim’s waist as she enters an open door or the female narcissist touching her male victim’s arm as he speaks.  Such touches seem innocent & many people won’t give them another thought.  The manipulation begins to work though whether or not the victim realizes it.  Those simple touches so early on increase a sense of intimacy & closeness.

When the narcissist sees such touches are accepted by the victim, they will push the boundaries a little further.  When those touches are accepted, the narcissist will push the boundaries a bit further, & the cycle continues.  As the cycle continues, they get more comfortable pushing all boundaries with their victims.  Then before they know it, the victim is going along with whatever the narcissist wants.

In romantic relationships, this touching thing is also a way to show others who the victim belongs to.  When dating, my ex husband constantly touched me.  His arm was around me, he was holding my hand, he wanted me to sit on his lap.. something to show other people that I was his property.  I found it very awkward sometimes but ignored it because, like most raised by narcissistic parents, I didn’t pay attention to my feelings.  It wasn’t until years later when my grandfather mentioned this & how disturbing he found it I realized how weird it was.  Not knowing about narcissism at that time, all I realized was my ex wanted to show others that I was his “property”, which was pretty unsettling.

If you meet someone new & they are too comfortable touching you, consider that to be a red flag.  Not all people who are the “touchy feely” type are narcissists of course, but some are.  Pay attention to the person’s behavior.  If they consistently push boundaries with you, that is clearly a red flag.  If you ask them to stop touching you & they don’t or accuse you of being over sensitive, that is another.  The average person will respect your boundaries & alter their behavior, no matter how accustomed to & comfortable with physical touch they are.

Also, if you are involved with someone romantically who insists on touching you constantly, then it may be a red flag of narcissism.  Consider this person’s behavior as objectively as you can.  Ask yourself if they have shown other signs of narcissism.  If they have, then act accordingly to protect yourself. That is your right!

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Common Myths About Narcissistic Abuse

There are many myths about narcissistic abuse.  This post’s purpose is to debunk some of the more common ones.

“You let him/her get away with treating you that way.  That’s why he/she does what they do.”  Narcissists aren’t normal people who respect boundaries.  They don’t care that their actions cause pain & problems for others.  They only care about what they want.  No matter what consequences you give a narcissist, chances of them respecting your boundaries are slim to none. 

“Narcissists only abuse the weak & stupid.”  Anyone can be abused by a narcissist, no matter their intelligence, personality, religious beliefs, social standing or gender.  Narcissists are incredibly good actors & can convince anyone of whatever they want them to believe.  Even people who know a great deal about Narcissistic Personality Disorder can be fooled temporarily.  Someone who doesn’t know about it can be fooled much easier & for a much longer time before they realize something is very wrong.

“You must have done something to attract this type of person.”  This is nothing but victim blaming & shaming, & is incredibly cruel!  Do you know the kind of person narcissists are attracted to?  People with kind, loving & gentle spirits who have a great deal of empathy.  It is wrong to make people like this feel badly for being this way, especially when these are all wonderful qualities!

“You just need to learn how to stop making him angry or stay out of his way.”  No one is responsible for another person’s abusive behavior beyond the abuser.  Nothing anyone can do can prevent any abuser from abusing, period.  Narcissists are also incredibly toxic people who enjoy torturing their victims.  One way they do this is to keep their victims in a constant state of high alert by changing what angers them & what they want.  No matter how much a person may want to avoid angering the narcissist in their life or stay out of his way, it’s impossible.

“You need to fix this relationship!”  One of my aunts told me this regarding the relationship I had with my parents.  She is far from the only person to think in such a dysfunctional & foolish manner.  The problem is no one person can fix a relationship.  While one person can destroy a relationship, it takes two people to fix one.  Not to mention, in the mind of narcissists, their relationships are fine.  They don’t need fixing, at least so long as the victim does whatever the narcissist wants & tolerates the abuse.

“If it’s so bad, just walk away/go no contact.”  Anyone who says this most likely lacks empathy.  Ending relationships is always hard.  Ending a relationship with a narcissist is even harder, especially if that person is someone you love a great deal such as a spouse or parent.  Chances are the person who says this also has no concept of trauma bonding.  Trauma bonding is common among narcissists & their victims.  This is when the narcissist interjects some kindnesses in with their abuse.  They also destroy their victims’ self esteem, making them think they can’t survive without the narcissist.  There is also the fact that many narcissists financially ruin their victims so they are dependent on their narcissist.  Narcissists also isolate their victims from friends & families, so they have no one they can trust to help them.  Leaving narcissists isn’t as simple as “just walking away” for these reasons & many more.

“You’ve been away from the narcissist for a while so you should be over it by now.”  Narcissistic abuse often creates Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in victims.  This disorder as well as the tremendous amount of psychological warfare waged against victims by narcissists mean there is no “getting over it”.  It takes a lot of time to come to any sort of terms to what happened & if you have PTSD, to learn to manage your symptoms.

These are only a few of the myths about narcissistic abuse, but even so, I hope my debunking helps you. 

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How Narcissists Like Making You Feel Dumb To Make Themselves Feel Smart & Superior

I was mopping my basement floor in our old house one morning when I remembered the oddest thing.  The paint was flaking off badly, & had been since immediately after I painted that floor not long before we moved into our home.  I’d never painted concrete before & had no clue it required special prep before paint.

What I remembered was how about the time my husband & I went to settlement on our house, I mentioned to both my father & father in-law on separate occasions that I was going to paint the basement walls & floor first, so we could start to move our belongings in the basement very soon after settlement.  Then I would focus on painting the main level.  Neither my father nor father in-law said a word.

Shortly after, I told both fathers on separate occasions again that I had finished painting the basement.  Both men had the exact same reaction.  They asked if I prepared the floor with muriatic acid before painting.  I was surprised because I never even heard of this product.  I told them no.  And again, both men had the same reaction.  Both shook their heads & smirked at me, not saying another word.

Having never painted any concrete before, I had no idea that muriatic acid could be used to pre-treat concrete to help paint stick to the surface.  A little tip that might have been nice to know prior to working so hard painting the entire concrete floor in my home’s basement, don’t you think?

Unfortunately, both my father & father in-law were narcissists.  My father a covert one who became more overt as he got older & developed Alzheimer’s.  My father in-law was overt in his younger days & became much less narcissistic as he got older in spite of having dementia. 

When I thought about this situation, I realized that their responses were typically narcissistic, & I’ll tell you why.  Both men had the typical male need to feel useful, but I believe being narcissists, it was very exaggerated.  I can’t help but wonder if me not asking for their advice prior to my painting task offended them to the point of narcissistic injury.  It’s entirely possible of course.  Narcissists get offended so easily.

What also is entirely possible is that by not giving me the information they knew I needed, they set me up in order to feel superior.  Narcissists LOVE to feel superior to other people in any & every way.  It props up their ego & seems to just feel really good to them.  While almost anyone can appreciate feeling superior to some small degree, narcissists take it to an extreme.  They need it like an addict needs their drug of choice, & many times, will do anything in order to access that feeling of superiority.  They have no problem withholding information or providing false information, or even blatantly lying to or about their victim.  Whatever it takes to make them feel superior is going to be done.  If you or someone else gets hurt in the process, that isn’t important.  What the narcissist wants is the only thing that matters.  At least to the narcissist, that is.

Knowing this information is vital for anyone who comes in contact with a narcissist in any capacity.  It can help you to avoid a great deal of frustration & wondering why they did what they did.  Remember that they are selfish to the extreme, & all that matters to them is whatever they want at that specific moment.  Hurting others to get that is not a big deal to anyone who lacks empathy, like narcissists.  It’s very sad that there are people out there who are so pathetic they are willing to hurt anyone & everyone to accomplish their goals, but unfortunately, there are people like that.  And they are everywhere!  Be aware of that fact & protect yourself!

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How Narcissists Make Victims Lose Themselves

When you are subjected to narcissistic abuse, you lose yourself.  You often feel as if you’re being fake.  Sadly, the truth is you are being fake, but not because of some flaw in you.

Narcissists do their best to mold their victims into whatever they want them to be.  To do this, they start by destroying their victim’s personality.  They convince victims that they don’t like the things they do like, & they like things they don’t like.  They also convince victims that they feel a certain way about things that is completely untrue. 

Gaslighting is a very effective way to accomplish this.  By repeatedly swearing that a victim has said or hasn’t said something & even getting angry about it, a victim often starts to believe that the narcissist is telling the truth.  Denial & making a person question their memories

Invalidation is also helpful in forwarding a narcissist’s agenda.  Convincing someone that they have some deep flaws for feeling as they do will change their mind about their feelings.  No one wants to be labeled as intensely flawed or even crazy, so they change their mind.

Narcissists also make their victims feel as if they are a disappointment, & the narcissist deserves better than that.  This guilt makes victims work harder to please the narcissist, yet they can’t do it.  The narcissist continually changes what they want & makes the goals loftier & unattainable. 

Gaslighting, invalidation & this disappointment all work together to make victims feel shame.  They feel ashamed of themselves, of who they are, of their beliefs, of what they want, think & feel… of everything about themselves.  Once this toxic shame takes root in a person, they become very easy to manipulate & control, which is why narcissists work so hard to accomplish this.

If you feel this way, you’re not alone!  I have been there too.  First my mother tried to mold me into what she wanted from me, then my ex husband did.  By the time I was in my mid 20’s, I had no idea who I really was or what I really liked, didn’t like, believed… it was a nightmare!  It took time but I finally got to know the real me, & you know something?  That person is ok! 

If you’re reading this now, I want you to know that the real you is ok too!  I also want you to know that you need to get to know this person that God made you to be, without the input of the narcissist. 

Start questioning everything.  Ask yourself how you genuinely feel about things.  For example, do you like the kind of music you do because the narcissist told you that you liked it, or is it truly your taste?  What about the kind of work you do- do you enjoy it or did your narcissistic parent tell you that you needed to get into this line of work?

If the narcissist is still in your life, question everything he or she tells you, especially about how you feel about things.  While the narcissist most likely claims to know you better than you know yourself, this is nothing but a lie.  You know you better & if you get to know yourself well, then nothing the narcissist says can cause you to doubt yourself or change yourself into someone you’re not ever again!

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Some Information About Toxic Shame

Victims of narcissistic abuse struggle with shame, even when they don’t recognize that is the root of their struggle.  There are two main reasons for this…

Reason #1- Shame is an incredibly effective weapon which is why narcissists use it so freely.  It can reduce even the strongest of person to a mere shadow of their former self, which makes that person easy to manipulate.

Reason #2- Shame is also rather easy to put on someone.  Repeating the same message can drill it into someone’s mind.  Saying that message with certainty as overt narcissists do or with great disappointment as covert narcissists do helps drive the point home even faster.  During the shaming, victims seldom realize what is happening or later that shame is at the root of many of their problems.

If you have been in the position of having a narcissist put toxic shame on you, you’re not alone!  Not alone by a long shot!  And, for more good news, you can heal.  It will take some effort & time, but you can heal. 

As always, I recommend starting with prayer.  Ask God to show you what to do, to help you to heal & anything else that comes to mind.  He will be glad to help you however you need.

You need to acknowledge areas where you feel shame.  Write them down if it helps you.  I have comprised a list to help you get started.  You never need to carry shame for…

  • Someone else’s actions.
  • Things that were done to you.
  • For having different likes, dislikes, values, ideas, feelings than someone else.
  • Prejudices against you due to your race, gender, religious beliefs, etc.
  • For things your family members have done.
  • For having needs or wants.
  • For having boundaries.
  • For needing help or support.
  • For struggling.

Once you identify the areas where you carry shame, they need to be addressed.  One thing that helps me to do this is to think logically & unemotionally about the problem.  I look at it objectively & ask myself if I have anything to be ashamed of in this particular situation.  If not, then why do I feel shame for it?  Looking at it this way helps me to see the toxic shame that has been put on me for what it is.  That makes it easier to release.

I find it also helps to ask God what the truth is in the situation.  Do I deserve to feel the way I do?  Have I done anything that warrants me feeling this way?  What is the truth in this situation?  His words speak life so His answers are incredibly freeing & eye opening!

Another thing that has helped me heal from shame is to identify who precisely put the shame on me, then to envision giving it back to them.  I know this sounds odd at best, but it can be surprisingly helpful.  I have envisioned myself holding a box containing all the toxic shame that has been put on me.  The box is ugly & even moving, so it’s pretty disturbing.. just like toxic shame.  I hand that box to the person who put the shame on me & tell them this is yours.  I refuse to carry it for a moment longer.  Narcissists refuse to accept any responsibility for their actions, so even when I imagine this scenario, they avoid touching the box.  I say that is fine, then put the box at that person’s feet & walk away.  When I have mentioned this to other people, some have said they have done something similar. Some have imagined putting the box at the foot of the cross where Jesus was crucified instead.

Toxic shame is a terrible thing, I know, & no one should have to live with it.  I pray that what I have said can help you to heal from the damaging effects.  God bless you!

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Narcissists Don’t Like People Who Are Different

Narcissists expect everyone to be just like them.  Not only do they expect other people to lie, manipulate & project, but they expect other people to share their likes, dislikes, beliefs & more.  When others aren’t exactly like them, narcissists shun & try to change those people.

My late mother in-law & two sisters in-law have been great examples of this in my life.  My personality is naturally quite different than theirs.  We never shared likes, dislikes, beliefs or really anything in common. 

The three of them hated how different I was, & tried to make me like things they did.  Usually by insulting things I care about, like my mother in-law insulting me for “liking to be all dirty” by helping my husband repair our car.  There was also manipulation though.  In passing, some time before Christmas one year, I’d mentioned to my mother in-law how I dislike cooking.  Apparently she told her daughters, because that Christmas, all three of them gave me cooking paraphernalia.  Cookbooks, utensils, food, seasonings & more. I refer to that Christmas as the Christmas of cooking.

They all are much more extroverted than me, too.  Naturally I’m pretty quiet but compared to any extrovert, I seem excessively quiet.  One sister in-law told my husband that I was a snob, thought I’m so much better than them & treated them all as, “Poor white trash”.

My own family is no better.  My parents insulted my writing even before I started writing about narcissism.  My mother called it a “waste of time”.  My father asked me one day in a skeptical tone, “Does anyone even buy those books you write?”  Others have insulted me for writing about the topics I do, in particular my faith. Obviously I’m not a good Christian in their opinion, because of what I write about.

There is nothing abnormal about this at all for narcissists.  This is how they all seem to think.  If you don’t fit inside their box, that means you’re bad, wrong, stupid & even crazy. 

If you have witnessed this sort of behavior, it’s not your imagination.  Really, this is how they & their flying monkeys act!  You’re not overreacting!  Maybe you were on the direct receiving end of the hatefulness.  Maybe you have seen it happen to others, for example in an online forum.  If you were a witness to this behavior & defended the person that was targeted, chances are you quickly were targeted.  Anyone who disagrees with a narcissist is targeted.  Their egos can’t handle that someone might think they are wrong about something, so rather than reflect & consider their own perspective, they prefer to attack an innocent person.

If this is your situation please know there is nothing wrong with you.  Your flaws are only in the mind of the narcissist.  Everyone is different, & that is ok!  There is nothing wrong with you for having different likes & perspectives from a narcissist.  There is nothing wrong with you for defending someone you think it was unfair of them to attack or at least judge & criticize.  In fact, I think defending that person makes you a good person because it shows you won’t be one of those people who does nothing in the face of injustice.  That is a rare & wonderful quality!

Just remember, when this happens to you that this isn’t proof that something is deeply wrong with you.  It proves that something is deeply wrong with the one behaving in this manner.  Healthy, functional people accept that not everyone is the same & even appreciate the differences in others.  Only completely dysfunctional, closed minded & foolish people want everyone to be just like them.

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Another Tool Narcissists Use: Negging

Narcissists are notorious for their scathing criticisms & verbal abuse.  Overt narcissists in particular love telling their victims how fat, skinny, ugly, stupid, useless they are & more.  They have no problem spelling out their victims’ supposed flaws very clearly. 

When the narcissist in question is a parent, this is often the norm.  That child probably doesn’t remember any time where their narcissistic parent wasn’t obviously cruel with their words.  Other relationships with narcissists are different, however.  No one would get involved with a narcissist if they saw upon meeting them how cruel they were.  Possessing the ability to be creative in ways to abuse, they have found a fantastic tool that allows them to abuse while not appearing to be abusive.  Covert narcissists use this tool constantly, while overts usually only use it at the beginning of relationships.  This tool is called negging.

Negging subtly tears down a person’s self esteem while not appearing to be abusive. Negging is done by offering complements that aren’t really complements but insults disguised as complements or constructive criticism.  The comments also can involve comparing a victim to someone else, “one upping” or brushed off as “just joking”.  Some examples are:

  • It’s ok you didn’t get a good grade in that class.  The course was too hard for you, so I didn’t expect you to get a good grade.
  • That’s amazing you got such a good grade on that test!  Who helped you study?
  • I like what you’ve done with your makeup.  Did you learn how to do that from your sister?
  • You’ve lost so much weight!  I really see it in your face!
  • You really don’t care what other people think of you at all, do you?
  • Congratulations on your promotion!  I just got engaged!
  • I was just kidding!
  • Wow, you sure are easily offended!  Seems like I can’t say anything without you getting upset.

Negging is also commonly used when a narcissist is trying to start up a romantic relationship.  They may say comments such as:

  • You’re normally not my type, but I’d like to go out with you sometime.
  • You remind me of my mom/dad/brother/sister.

If someone you just meet says things like this, these could be red flags of narcissism.  Your best bet is not to engage this person in any relationship.

If someone you are already in a relationship does this, there are ways to cope.  Show no emotional reaction, remember you have the right to protect yourself with healthy boundaries such as refusing to discuss certain topics with this person, don’t insult the other person back as they can use it to prove how unstable or mean you are. 

Negging can be difficult to recognize at first due to its subtle nature.  If you are unsure if someone in your life is treating you this way, write down what happens.  Sometimes seeing things in front of you can help you to see situations more clearly.  Or, talk to someone you know who is supportive & emotionally healthy.  They will give you a good perspective.  If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone close to you about this, contact a domestic violence center near you or the National Domestic Abuse hotline.  Examine your life & how it has changed since this person came into your life.  Is this person isolating you from your friends & family, for example?  Isolation is a very big red flag of abusers.  Even if this person isn’t obviously trying to keep you from others, does this person insult those you love?  That is a very subtle way of isolating someone.

I wish you the best in your situation!

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Turning The Other Cheek

I noticed some interesting things when reading Matthew 5:38-39 in the Amplified translation of the Bible recently.  The verses say, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth [punishment that fits the offense].’ 39 But I say to you, do not resist an evil person [who insults you or violates your rights]; but whoever slaps you on the right cheek, turn the other toward him also [simply ignore insignificant insults or trivial losses and do not bother to retaliate—maintain your dignity, your self-respect, your poise].”  The first interesting part was the definition of evil person.  It says someone “who insults you or violates your rights.”  That sounds like a narcissist to me.  After all, they live to be insulting & violate the rights of others.  It’s what they do & do so well.

I also like the next part of that verse that describes what turning the other cheek really means.  That was the second interesting thing I noticed.  That part of verse 39 says,  “Simply ignore insignificant insults or trivial losses, & do not bother to retaliate – maintain your dignity, your self-respect, your poise.”  That perfectly describes the Gray Rock Method!  It provides no narcissistic supply while you maintain your composure.  Narcissists can’t stand that!  They absolutely hate it, but there is nothing they can do about it without looking foolish.  This means they will leave you alone.

Like I’ve said many times in my work, it’s impossible to avoid narcissists.  They’re everywhere.  Even when we remove them from our lives, chances are excellent that others will pop up.  Hopefully only in passing, like maybe a cashier or repairman.  But, sometimes they pop up in other, closer relationships no matter how hard we try to avoid them.  A close friend starts dating a narcissist, or that new coworker is a narcissist.  In such situations, there is no escape.  The best that you can do is find ways to deal with that person.  The healthier you get, the more narcissists hate you, which may make the situation even more challenging for a while.  They see you as a threat because you can see what’s behind their masks & you don’t fall for their manipulation.  At some point though they will get bored with you & avoid you as much as possible.

In those situations, the best thing you can do is remember what the Bible says.  People who insult you & ignore your rights are evil in God’s eyes.  That is very clear in the verses from Matthew!  That means you need to protect youself from these people. 

Also, don’t forget the rest of the verse gives excellent advice in dealing with such people.  Ignore them.  Act like you didn’t even notice their cruel words or actions.  Don’t allow them to manipulate you or give them any praise.  Become boring to them, in other words.  This deprives people like this of narcissistic supply.  The more you deprive a narcissist of supply, the less that narcissist will want to do with you.  You are a waste of their time at this point.  They prefer to focus on people that will provide them with that narcissistic supply they crave so desperately.  Be as boring as possible to the narcissists in your life.  Doing so will keep you safe from their abuse.

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Re-Victimizing Survivors

In my experience as well as speaking with others who also have survived narcissistic abuse, I’ve noticed a very common phenomenon.  Society’s invalidation & even gaslighting of victims.

Possibly the most clear example of this came from my high school guidance counselor.  I went to her, trying to find some way to get along with my narcissistic mother, & not only wasn’t helped, I was hurt in the process.  One day, I told her about what I called my mother’s “lectures”, where she would scream at me, telling me how terrible I was, how other people talked about me behind my back because of how terrible I was & even accusing me of things I hadn’t done.  The counselor’s response?  “Well, that doesn’t sound so bad.”

Dear Reader, if you have experienced something similar to someone you told about your history of abuse, you know how painful this experience is.  It can catch you off guard, especially when it comes from someone you care about or expect to care, such as a therapist.

If you haven’t had the “pleasure” of this experience, chances are you will at some point.  Either way, when someone acts as described below, you need to remember, they clearly have a problem.

Some people blame victims for making the abuser act as they have.  Common sense should dictate that anyone who does this has their own issues.  No one can make someone abuse them!  Don’t accept this person’s blame for your abuser hurting you!  All blame for the abuse lies squarely on the shoulders of the abuser, period!

Some people also blame the victim for not getting away from their abuser sooner.  Many people don’t understand the concept of the trauma bond, how a victim can form a strong bond to their abuser.  They also don’t understand how abusers can financially abuse victims, leaving them with no money or means to earn money so they can escape.  Further more, they also fail to understand how many abusers have beaten their victims down so badly that the victims don’t think they can survive without the abuser.

Some people make the victim feel to blame for not being able to get along with the abuser.  I think it was about 5 ago, one of my aunts told me that I needed to get into therapy & figure out how to get along with my parents, & “don’t dare tell her it won’t work!”  I told her I did that when I was only 17 & what I learned is no relationship can work if only one person is willing to work on it.  I stand by that today.  No relationship can be healthy if only one person works on it.  People who don’t realize that are foolish.  

Some people assume they know best what the abuser’s  intentions are, & assume they have good intentions but misguided actions.  If someone defends your abuser by saying things like, “He didn’t mean to hurt you…”  “She just doesn’t know any better”, or “That’s just how he is,” this person is invalidating & gaslighting you.  No truly innocent person hurts people repeatedly after being called out on their behavior.  

Some people push victims to heal.  Only the most toxic person would dare to trivialize a victim’s horrific experiences, tell a victim of abuse to “get over it”, accuse a victim of being codependent or fail to understand why that person hasn’t “forgiven & forgotten.”  Healing is a very individual path.  Everyone’s path is very different.  Also, every narcissist is different, so naturally how they abuse their victims is different.  It’s only natural to assume that no two victims will heal the same way & many victims will have to work on their healing for a long time, most likely a lifetime.

People who treat victims like I described in this post are further abusing victims rather than helping them.  If you come across people like this, stay away from them.  Instead, deal with people who possess empathy, kindness & aren’t judgmental know it alls who assume they know your situation better than you do.

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Commonly Used Gaslighting Phrases

Gaslighting is an especially insidious form of abuse that makes a victim doubt their memories, perceptions, reality & sometimes even their sanity.  Narcissists love to use it due to the fact that people who live with frequent gaslighting are easy to control.  After all, if a person doesn’t trust themselves, they will look elsewhere for whatever information they need, even to an abusive person who is the reason they no longer trust themselves.

Gaslighting can be very subtle, which means it can be difficult to identify.  Below are some commonly used phrases narcissists use to gaslight their victims.

“You’re crazy.”  Either said outright or implied with phrases like, “You need help.”  This phrase can make a person doubt their sanity when repeated often enough & with certainty.

“You’re over sensitive or overreacting.”  Another common gaslighting phrase.  This is said to make a victim feel shame for being upset at what the abuser has said or done.  Few things will shut a person down faster than shame, & when they are shut down, they won’t complain about the abuse.

“I was just kidding!”  This phrase is closely related to “You’re oversensitive.”  It is designed to create doubt.  The victim is supposed to think they overreacted or are too sensitive or stupid to realize the comment was just a joke.  The truth is however that it was nothing of the sort.

“You need to get over it!”  This phrase basically tells a victim that they are wrong for still being upset about whatever the abuser did that upset them.  Narcissists want their victims to tolerate abuse indefinitely & without complaint.  If they can make their victim feel badly about themselves or even ashamed for being upset, then they have an excellent chance of getting the victim to continue to tolerate abuse.

“It didn’t happen that way!”  This phrase can be used in a couple of ways.  The first & most obvious of course is to make a victim doubt their perception & believe the narcissists’s version of events.  The other use may be the narcissist’s lack of coping skills coming into play.  The narcissist may be ashamed of something they said or did, not because it hurt the victim, but because it may make the narcissist look bad if the victim tells others about what happened.  In order to avoid that, the narcissist may try to convince themselves & the victim that it didn’t happen that way, it happened this very different way instead.  This way will involve the narcissist not acting badly or the victim doing something to provoke the narcissist to do what they did.

“That never happened!”  Denial is a very commonly used tool with narcissists.  If they can get their victim to believe that something never happened, that person won’t tell others what the narcissist has done.

“No one else would feel that way./ You’re the only person in the world who would feel that way.”  This phrase is another way for narcissists to shame victims by making them feel they are weird, wrong, broken.  If they can shame a victim enough, the victim will stop complaining about the abuse & tolerate it quietly.

“I’m only doing this because I love you.”  My mother used to justify abusing me by telling me it was “tough love” she was using on me & I deserved it because of my terrible behavior.  That is all this phrase is – a way for a narcissist to justify being abusive.

“No one will ever love you like I do.”  My ex husband told me this once, & I thank God he was right about that!  The phrase is said to make a victim feel that they are lucky to have the narcissist’s love, because no one else ever could or would care about them.

When the narcissist in your life says such things to gaslight you, keep in mind that is exactly what these phrases are, gaslighting.  That means there isn’t an ounce of truth in them at all.  If you have doubts, ask yourself why do you think the narcissist is right.  Or better yet, ask God to tell you the truth in this situation.

Keep a journal.  If you haven’t done this before, do it now.  Write down what the narcissist says.  Seeing things in writing can bring about a great deal of clarity.  Often, it makes things clearer than simply talking or thinking about them.

Always remember, the narcissist says these things to manipulate you & to keep you down.  Don’t give the narcissist that satisfaction!

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Grooming

One very common tactic of narcissistic abusers, parents in particular it seems, is called grooming.

Grooming is a two fold process….

Narcissists work very hard to groom their victims.  In other words, they convince the victim that he or she is to blame for all of the problems in the relationship.  If the victim would just do *fill in the blank* then the narcissistic abuser wouldn’t do whatever it is that upsets the victim.  So many of us have heard such ridiculous statements from our abusers as, “You made me hit you!” or, “If you wouldn’t have done what you did, I wouldn’t have had to do what I did.”  On my seventeenth birthday, my mother destroyed the gifts my now ex husband gave me.  She blamed me for making her do it because, according to her, I was “acting snotty.”  The fact is, I knew she hated him & would be angry he gave me gifts.  I didn’t want to take those gifts home, but I had no other choice.  I was quiet when I got in her car after school that day, because I was blindly terrified of my mother’s rage.  In her mind, my fear was “acting snotty” & an excuse to do what she did.

Grooming victims also means that the victim will feel guilt & even shame for making the relationship with the narcissist so incredibly unhealthy.  They will do their best to fix this relationship & please the narcissist.  Grooming makes victims very easy to manipulate & abuse.  After all, if someone truly believes that they are the problem, they will do whatever they can to make the relationship better.  They also will listen to whoever has convinced them that they are the problem, because obviously, in their mind anyway, this person knows better than they do how to fix things.

Narcissists also do their best to groom other people.  This means that they convince other people that the victim is the real problem in the relationship.  This works well for narcissists, because so long as other people believe this lie, they will never believe that the victim is anything but a problem.  The victim is the reason the narcissist acts the way she does.  The victim provokes the narcissist, or lies about the narcissist, or at least that is what is told to other people.  This insures that the victim is not believed when he or she decides to speak up about the narcissist.  These people always believe the victim to be nothing but trouble, so they won’t believe anything this person has to say about the narcissist.  The narcissistic abuser can do whatever they want & no one will believe the victim about how awful this person is.

In either case, the victim is not believed, so the abuser can continue their reign of terror without fear of anyone believing that she is the evil monster that she is.

Unfortunately, no victim of narcissistic abuse can avoid grooming or convince others that the narcissist is lying about the situation.  The only ways that I have learned to deal with this awful behavior are as follows..

Ignore those who believe the narcissist over you.  Yes, it hurts.  Yes, you’re going to lose people you thought were on your side.  However, one good thing is that you will learn who truly loves you.

Anyone who does not blindly believe what the narcissist in your life says about you is on your side.  Normal people question things, & do not blindly believe anything, in particular stories told of people they are close to.

Anyone who gets angry upon hearing the lies the narcissist says about you is also on your side.  Loving people are protective of those they care about, & also have no patience for people lying about them.

If someone is willing to share anything you say with the narcissist or tell you why what you feel is completely wrong, these are also red flags.  These red flags are signs of a flying monkey, someone who cares only about the narcissist, & nothing about you.

And, never forget to stand strong in the truth.  You know what has happened.  You also know what the narcissist in your life has said happened.  Stick to the truth, what really happened.  Remember narcissists lie a LOT, & do not believe the lies!

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

Abusive Behaviors Normally Not Considered To Be Abusive

Narcissists & their flying monkey enablers have a very skewed view of what is ok & what isn’t ok, what’s abusive & what isn’t abusive.  Narcissists are an extremely entitled bunch & they lack empathy, so in their minds, whatever they want is all that matters.  Hurting others isn’t important.  And, their flying monkeys agree wholeheartedly.  So what if someone gets hurt?  The narcissist is the important one, after all.

These people act like certain abusive behaviors are completely normal.  In time, this can make victims think the narcissist is right, that they are wrong for being upset about something that is supposed to be so normal.  More subdued abusive behaviors often fall into this category.

Also, many abuse victims develop a very thick skin when it comes to abuse.  This comes from being abused repeatedly.  If an abuser isn’t screaming at them or physically assaulting them, they sometimes don’t think they are being abused.  Unfortunately abuse isn’t always so easy to spot.  It can be subtle, but equally abusive.  This post will describe some of the subtle ways a person can abuse.

Taking or relocating your property.  When you live with someone, chances are excellent you will move each other’s property at some point.  My husband moves my purse if it’s in his way, for example.  But when someone hides or even gets rid of something that belongs to you, that is abnormal!  It is also abusive if the person blames you for forgetting that you moved or got rid of the item when they are the one who did it.  That is gaslighting!

Controlling behavior.  Telling you what to say, how to act, how to look, what to wear, hiding your car keys so you can’t go anywhere are all abusive, even if there are no physical threats to go along with the control.  No one has the right to control another person.

Sexual violations.  Someone who uses guilt & shame to force you to perform a sexual act that is something you really don’t want to do or causes you pain is just as guilty as the masked man who rapes you at knife point.  Just because a weapon wasn’t used doesn’t make this ok.  It’s not ok if you’re married either.  Being married doesn’t give anyone the right to be sexually abusive.

The silent treatment.  While the silent treatment isn’t usually considered abusive, it actually is.  If you don’t know what the person’s up to, the silent treatment can make you do almost anything to win the favor back of the person not speaking to you.  It sets you up to be controlled & manipulated while damaging your self-esteem.  Once you understand what the silent treatment is about though, it can be a pleasant respite from the abuse.

Being confusing & unreasonable during a disagreement.  Most people try to work together to a solution when involved in a disagreement, even if things are heated.  An abusive behavior is instead of working on a solution, talking in circles, trying to focus on something other than the issue at hand, projecting their flaws onto you, bringing up past arguments, & gaslighting.

Please remember not to normalize or excuse abuse.  Behavior like this is NOT normal & there is no excuse for anyone to act  this way.  Even if it happened “only once”, there is still no excuse for it.  Instead, admit the truth, that such actions are abusive & terrible.  You also need to accept that you have done nothing wrong, & you did nothing to deserve such treatment.  You have every right to be upset about what was done to you.  You also have every right to protect yourself from further abuse so set those boundaries & take good care of yourself!

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Not All Causes Can Be Your Causes

Periodically I notice comments on Facebook that get under my skin.  The topic isn’t important, but the message is.  The message is something along the lines of, “If you don’t care about this topic, you’re a selfish jerk.”

In fact, some people have said things to me about issues, expecting my support, but when I don’t give it, they get downright shaming.  One of them was about how disappointed someone was in me for not noticing that one public figure was a narcissist.  Well, the truth is I disagreed with her assessment.  I also had virtually no interest in the arena where this person was popular, so I naturally hadn’t paid a lot of attention to this person.  In her world, apparently none of this was valid.  I was simply a terrible disappointment for failing to notice this person’s supposedly narcissistic ways.

There was a comment that I remember from several years ago when a lion was murdered in a sanctuary by a ruthless hunter.  It broke my heart seeing such a beautiful, wonderful animal murdered for no purpose beyond the hunter’s desire to say he killed this lion.  As I read through comments on a post on the topic, I saw a comment that said something like, “You people get so upset about just a lion, but do you even care about the fact that so many innocent babies are aborted every year?!”

In my younger days, comments like this made me feel guilty.  Honestly, I’ve never been interested in politics or the abortion debate or many other current events issues.  My heart lies more with issues about animal rights, Christian topics & naturally surviving abuse.  I felt I must be wrong for that until I realized something.

This doesn’t mean I don’t care about the country in which I live or the rights of the unborn.  What it means is I feel God wants me to focus more on animal rights, Christian topics & surviving abuse.

No one person can support every single issue!  It’s too much!  No one can afford to donate money to every worthy cause either,  simply because there are so many causes.

Also, no one can emotionally afford to support every single worthy cause.  Strong emotions can drain a person, even when those emotions are positive ones.  Everyone needs breaks, to distribute their emotions wisely & to do so with balance.  Doing this isn’t a bad thing.  It doesn’t make a person selfish or uncaring.  It makes a person human!

If someone tries to shame you for not actively supporting some cause that they support, I hope you will remember the information I shared here today.  Every single person has a unique calling in life & that means they need to support whatever issues they feel called to support.  That does NOT mean they need to support whatever the cause of the moment is.  God gives each person a unique purpose in their life, & the approval of other people isn’t a requirement.  What it does mean is that each person should follow their unique path, supporting the issues closest to their heart, & allowing others to do the same without judgment.

This also means each person should support the issues on their heart however they deem appropriate.  For some folks, it means writing as I do.  For some other folks, this means donating money.  For others, it means picketing in front of large corporations or political offices.  For still others it means working to change laws.  Not one of these is any better or worse than the other.  Different doesn’t equal wrong or bad.  It’s simply different, as each person’s unique walk that God has given them.

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism